On the book shelf

King Mouse

By Cary Fagan, illustrator Dena Seiferling

Mouse finds a tiny crown in the grass, places it on his head and becomes king but his woodland friends also discover crowns and join his royal status. Bear is the only one who doesn’t have a crown and that’s when this story takes a compassionate turn. The message delivered in this humorous modern fable is subtly profound. The illustrator also provides a subtle touch with whimsical renderings. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Tundra Books – $17.99 hardcover


Just Because

By Mac Barnett, illustrator Isabelle Arsenault

Kids are full of questions and many of them come at bedtime when they are garnering for more awake time. This gently humorous story features a dad who comes up with increasingly creative responses that feed his child’s curiosity. Parents who know what it’s like to answer with “just because” will appreciate with sweet story that is perfect for sharing at bedtime. The award-winning illustrator matches the tone of the story with lively hits of colour amid moody black and white. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Candlewick Press – $21.99 hardcover


Ho’onani Hula Warrior

By Heather Gale, illustrator Mika Song


Based on the true story of a young girl in Hawaiʻi who dreams of leading the boys-only hula troupe at her school, this is a celebration of identity. Ho’onani doesn’t see herself as wahine (girl) OR kane (boy). She’s happy to be in the middle but not everyone is accepting of her status at first. While learning to accept herself and to lead others, she gains everyone’s respect. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Penguin Random House Canada – $21.99 hardcover

The Wall: A Timeless Tale

By Giancarlo Macri and Carolina Zanotti, illustrator Mauro Sacco and Elis Vallarino

This moving story about the beauty of people working together makes a complex issue simple. It’s a tale about a king who banishes anyone who looks different than him and builds a wall to keep them away. Soon, he sees that without people with various types of talents and expertise, his kingdom can no longer flourish. He then orders the wall to be knocked down so he can meet and thank all the talented people that make the community beautiful. Using vibrant colours to represent different groups, the simple yet profound illustrations will help children will see how a society can be harmed when barriers are built and thrive when people work together. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Happy Fox Books – $19.99 hardcover

The Animal Awards

By Martin Jenkins, illustrator Tor Freeman

This book should get an award for providing am imaginative perspective of the animal kingdom. It features 50 fantastic creatures that are highlighted based on their talents and skills. There are awards for the most smelly, best at pretending to be a plant and the most marvellous mane. There’s lots of information but the engaging layouts and cartoon-like illustrations make it easy to read. The entertaining format will have readers learning lots of fun facts about animals from around the world who represent nature’s rich tapestry. Animal-loving kids will also enjoy “Atlas of Ocean Adventures” and “Encyclopedia of Animals” from the same publisher. Ages 7 to 9 – Publisher, Frances Lincoln Children’s Books – $22.99 hardcover

Our Future

How Kids Take Action

By Janet Wilson, illustrator


From climate action to cyberbullying, from gun violence to animal protection, the young activists featured in this inspiring book have brought about real change. Stories about young people from across the globe illustrate how they are raising awareness about issues matter to them most, like Canadian Autumn Peltier who spoke in front of the United Nations to raise awareness about water pollution; and Melati Wijsen from Bali started working at twelve-years-old to convince his government to ban plastic bags. Wilson’s stunning art pays tribute to each of her exceptional subjects while photos show them involved in their various causes. Their stories will leave readers saying “wow”. Ages 7 to 12 – Publisher, Second Story Press – $18.95 hardcover

The Wereduck Code

By Dave Atkinson

This is the third instalment of the critically acclaimed Wereduck series, a fact of which I wasn’t aware when I read the book and that’s a good thing. You can jump right in with this book but why miss out on what must have been two equally as good tales? They all feature Kate, a 14-year-old wereduck in a family of werewolves. She has found an ancient cure for her family’s curse but there are complications that she hopes can be cleared up with a DNA test. The shocking results and potential for her family to come out of hiding and live normal lives drive this entertaining adventure. Adding to the thrills is the disappearance Dirk Bragg, the tabloid journalist-turned-country-music-star who threatens to reveal all. Young readers will eat this up. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Nimbus Publishing – $12.95 paperback

The Horse of the River

By Sari Cooper

It’s hard for me to resist a book about horses and that’s likely true for girls who like me, love horses. While it’s no “Black Beauty”, this story by a first-time author is an engaging read. Gillian’s dream of spending a month at a wilderness camp dedicated to horseback riding is one that many girls share. At the age of 12, she’s never been away from her family before and her negative voice isn’t helping her self-confidence. All is well as she settles in and bonds with her assigned horse, Beauty. Of course the story takes a turn and Gillian finds herself alone in the woods far from camp. She’s helped by an unlikely friend that shows just how bonded a rider and horse can become. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Harbour Publishing – $12.95 paperback